Defence minister hints at Pakistan, China border threat
Defence minister Rajnath Singh on Monday hinted at a collusive threat from Pakistan and China amid the ongoing border standoff in eastern Ladakh and stressed the need for better road connectivity along border areas with the two countries.
“You are well aware of the situation created along our northern and eastern borders. First Pakistan, and now also by China, as if a border dispute is being created under a mission by the two countries. We have a border of about 7,000km with these countries,” Singh said during the inauguration of 44 bridges at an online event.
The defence minister’s statement comes amid the latest intelligence report which has suggested that Chinese troops were conducting joint patrols with Pakistan’s army in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), and Beijing is helping set up multiple surface-to-air missile launch sites and a missile defence system in the region.
Last week, the Indian Air Force chief, Air Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria, had also highlighted how the Chinese and Pakistani armies were carrying out joint exercises.
Inaugurating 44 bridges built by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) in border areas of Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir, the defence minister said improved border infrastructure will significantly help armed forces in ensuring quick movement of troops and weapons.
“These roads are not only for strategic needs, but they also reflect equal participation of all stakeholders in the development of the nation,” he said.
Most of these bridges, including eight in Ladakh, enhance connectivity to areas leading up to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) as a push to infrastructure amid the India-China standoff.
Ten of these bridges are in Jammu and Kashmir and will improve road connectivity to the Line of Control with Pakistan.
Rajnath also laid the foundation stone of the strategically important Nechiphu Tunnel on the road to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh.
This 450-metre-long, bi-lane tunnel will ensure all-weather connectivity across Nechiphu pass, besides providing safe and secure passage through accident-prone areas.